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Abstract

As Stephen Mitchell noted in his translation ofThe Epic of Gilgamesh, one peculiar aspect of the work is its central theme: overcoming the fear of death (202). As it happens, Memory of my Melancholy Prostitutes by Gabriel García Márquez focuses primarily on this idea, as well. Curiously, the protagonists of both tales move beyond their inhibitions thanks to their respective prostitutes with whom they come to understand true love, which serves as the key to overcoming the fear of death. Accordingly, this article explores the transformative powers which the harlot archetypes exercise over the protagonists in both stories, keeping in mind that in many Southwest Asian languages, the word prostitute also implies “to initiate someone into life's mysteries” (Westenholz 247). Further evidence of similarities between the two protagonists is demonstrated through the framework of the ancient Southwest Asian literary figure of the wild man, who suffers most commonly from dementia, incoherent speech, and the inability to worship (Mobley 218). Taking the data as a cohesive whole, this essay proposes a direct influence from ancient Sumerian work to that of modern Colombia.

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